PEKIN - Irene Gardner, 97, of Pekin passed away at 4:40 a.m. Thursday, Jan. 16, 2014, at Pekin Manor.
Born Dec. 8, 1916, in Fulton County to Thomas E. and Anna (Zilch) Widger, she married Vernon P. Gardner on Jan. 1, 1940, in Kahoka, Mo. He died Nov. 17, 1984, in Peoria.
She also was preceded in death by four sisters, LaVonne Black, Edith Coultas, Thelma Melvin and Naomi Widger, who died at an early age; and four brothers, Aubrey Widger, her twin brother Ivan Widger, Charles Clifford Widger and Marvin Widger, who also passed away at birth.
Surviving are one daughter, Mindy Renee Gardner of Pekin, who was her caregiver for the past three years and with whom she made her home. She also leaves two special nieces, Martha Coultas Strode and Nancy Coultas Reinertsen, and a special nephew, Bill Coultas.
Irene owned and operated Irene's Beauty Shop in Canton from 1940 to 1978. She enjoyed cross stitching and quilting.
Irene was of the United Methodist faith.
Private, graveside services will be Monday, Jan. 20, 2014, at Glendale Memorial Gardens in Pekin. The Rev. Ronald Little will officiate. There will be no visitation. Preston-Hanley Funeral Homes & Crematory in Pekin is in charge of arrangements.
Memorial contributions may be given to the Disabled American Veterans at P.O. Box 14301, Cincinnati, OH 45250.
To express condolences online, visit www.preston-hanley.com.